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Polish farmers: The protesting farmers' accusations "completely missed the facts"

Photo: Karol Serewis / ZUMA Wire / IMAGO

The protests by Polish farmers are causing increasing tensions between Kiev and Warsaw: Ukraine accuses Poland of arbitrarily destroying grain with impunity.

“These pictures show 160 tons of destroyed Ukrainian grain,” said Deputy Prime Minister Olexandr Kubrakow on the short message platform X.

He attached photos of piles of grain being dumped from train cars at a Polish train station.

The grain was on its way to the port of Gdańsk and from there to other countries, explains Kubrakow.

It is the fourth case of such vandalism that has gone unpunished.

Farmers in Poland have been demonstrating for weeks against Ukrainian agricultural imports, which they say have led to a fall in prices.

The ongoing protests by Polish farmers are causing a lack of understanding among Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens).

She is worried about a possible diplomatic escalation between Warsaw and Kiev.

“We have to be very careful that governments are not played off against each other,” said Baerbock on Saturday during a visit to the southern Ukrainian port city of Odessa.

“Only a few percent of Ukrainian grain is exported via Poland,” said Baerbock.

"Most of it goes back out of Poland." The protesting farmers' accusations "completely miss the facts."

Almost two weeks ago, Polish farmers resumed their blockades of several border crossings with Ukraine.

They have been protesting against cheaper products from Ukraine since the EU suspended tariffs on many imports as a result of Russia's war of aggression.

Ukrainian government representatives speak to protesting farmers

Following a proposal from Kiev for a bilateral meeting on the protests by Polish farmers, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal went to the border on Friday - no one came from the Polish side.

“Unfortunately, the meeting with the Polish officials did not take place today,” wrote Schmyhal on the short message service Telegram.

Shmyhal published a photo showing him at a border post with several other government officials, including the agriculture minister.

Ukraine has “presented our proposals to Poland and we will continue this work,” said the Prime Minister.

Because of the Russian war of aggression and Russian blockades in the Black Sea, Ukraine is dependent on road traffic with EU member Poland for its imports and exports.

Baerbock promised Ukraine European solidarity in the dispute.

"As the EU, we stand united on Ukraine's side - including on the question of exports," said the minister in Odessa.

Poland is one of Ukraine's biggest supporters in Europe - but the dispute over grain imports has been straining Polish-Ukrainian relations for months.

Poland's Foreign Ministry had also warned against Russia's deliberate influence on the protesting farmers.

Baerbock also warned against instrumentalizing the protests.

We have to look closely at who is protesting on the Polish-Ukrainian border, she said in Odessa - and added a swipe at the farmers' protests in Germany.

"We're having protests in Germany right now, and you're wondering who's taking part in the agricultural protests," said the Green politician.

Apparently there are also people “who are not always open to democracy.”

Baerbock warned that “moods would be abused” during such protests.